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Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference at the end of the 2015 federal election campaign on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 in Calgary. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference at the end of the 2015 federal election campaign on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015 in Calgary. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

For the better

An entrepreneur's letter to Justin Trudeau Add to ...

Andrew D’Souza is the founder of Clearbanc, a financial services firm for self-employed workers and entrepreneurs.

Dear Mr. Trudeau, Congratulations on your victory last night after an impressive, principled and positive campaign. I’m confident that your induction as our new prime minister will lead to a more inclusive, empathetic country we’re proud to call home. But I’m most excited about your opportunity to create a more entrepreneurial Canada – an exciting country on the cusp of something big. Mr. Trudeau, I believe that deep down, you just may be an entrepreneur, even more than you are a politician.

Over the past 78 days you won over many Canadians, myself included, who were initially skeptical about your ability to lead this country. You faced criticism that you were inexperienced and still need to pay your dues. These are the criticisms we face everyday as entrepreneurs. We have to earn our seat at the table not by the length of our resumes, but by the quality of our ideas and our ability to execute. I’m hopeful, both for your sake and for Canada’s, that we will begin to judge our political leaders by the same criteria.

Your stance on investing for growth instead of balancing the budget was another sign you’ve got an entrepreneurial streak. Sometimes you need to run a loss as an entrepreneur in order to invest in the growth of your business, even though it’s safer to maintain the status quo. While it’s important to have a plan to get into the black before the cheap money runs out, being appropriately aggressive in the short term can let you win big in the long-term. The right investments over the next few years could see Canada reap rewards for decades.

Another clue that you may be an entrepreneur is your ability to assemble a strong team around you. No single person can accomplish anything great alone. Any impressive feat is always achieved as a team and any great leader is made so because of the team that supports them. Entrepreneurs live and die by the strength of their team and shared conviction around a core set of ideas, beliefs and values. You’ve assembled an impressive group of individuals from across the country who led you to such a resounding victory. It will be your job over the next four years to keep this team engaged, motivated and focused on building a better Canada.

Canada should be the best country in the world to be an entrepreneur. Our education system is world-class. Our immigration policy allows us to attract the world’s best, brightest and most ambitious. Our healthcare and social safety net make it possible for entrepreneurs to take bigger risks than anywhere else in the world. Our proximity and strong trade relationships with the United States allow us to sell into one of the world’s largest markets. If we want to create jobs, grow our economy and reduce our reliance on natural resources, we need to support and encourage our entrepreneurs. We need to give them every unfair advantage we can to win in an increasingly competitive world.

I can tell that you care about Canadian entrepreneurs because you have presented plans for for Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Funds and funding for startup accelerators. Not every plan works out as initially envisioned, and the sign of a strong entrepreneur is the ability to iterate quickly in response to market feedback. I encourage you to engage the entrepreneurs you aim to support with these policies in a discussion before implementing them, as we may have other ideas of how to more efficiently achieve your goals.

Like millions of other Canadians, I voted for you because I believe you can be the entrepreneurial Prime Minister to lead us into the future – please don’t let us down.

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